Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty-eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired hometown she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant . . .
Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!
Includes quick and easy recipes!
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
"Bill's dead and, uh, I'm afraid the police think I killed him."
Sarah Blair stared at the cell phone in her hand. She could not believe the words she had just heard over it. Bill cannot be dead. He was her ex-husband, but like the cat he let her keep after their divorce, she always thought William Taft Blair had nine lives. And what did Emily mean that the police thought she had killed him? No way her twin sister could have done anything like that!
Sure, Emily wielded a cleaver with deft precision in her job as a line cook and she'd threatened Bill a few times over his treatment of Sarah during their marriage and divorce, but Sarah refused to believe Emily could or would murder anyone.
"We were at the Civic Center. I tried to save him, but I couldn't." Emily's voice cracked in a way Sarah knew tears were threatening.
"What were the two of you doing at the Civic Center after midnight?"
"The Food Expo, but that doesn't matter now. I'm at the police station. Please, come."
The call ended before Sarah could ask any of the questions still racing through her brain. The only thing she was certain of was Emily needed her.
She swung her lanky legs over the side of her bed and grabbed her jeans from the floor. It couldn't be. At thirty-four, six years older than her, Bill was too young to die. He still had so much to do and so many more people to double-cross. She doubted she would ever know how many people, besides her, he'd hurt in Wheaton.
Bill might have had a presidential name, but he lacked any presidential qualities. She poked her foot under her bed, trying to find her shoes, among the scattered college brochures. Moving her foot over a few inches, Sarah successfully hooked a shoe with her toes.
Feeling sick to her stomach, she sat down hard on her bed, disturbing her cat's carefully constructed burrow in the quilt. RahRah stretched one tan paw into the air. Sarah put her hand on his back, but he squirmed away and jumped off the bed. She was tempted to follow him for a quick comforting hug. Instead, she pulled a purple sweater from the remaining pile of clothing on the floor and yanked it over her head.
"RahRah, what could possibly possess Emily to be at the police station without a lawyer? Didn't she learn anything all those years I made her watch Perry Mason?"
RahRah blinked but didn't purr.
"So, you agree with me. If Em isn't a suspect, they would have taken her statement during normal business hours."
Sarah stuffed her other foot into its shoe and made up her mind. Whether Emily wanted it or not, she wasn't going to let her sit in jail without representation. She dug her phone from beneath the covers, glanced at the time on its face, and scrolled to her boss's number.
Hopefully, Harlan was home, alone, and willing to help his receptionist's sister.CHAPTER 2
Sarah dug her fingernails deeper into the leather handle of Harlan's briefcase. Less than forty minutes had elapsed between Emily's call and Harlan and Sarah's arrival at the police station. Now they had been waiting almost the same amount of time to see Emily.
If she were in charge, Sarah would have already grabbed the portly officer manning the desk by his lapels and demanded he tell her where her sister was. Instead, Sarah forced herself to do what she'd promised her boss in the car — keep quiet and carry the briefcase.
"Harlan, I just relieved the desk man." The officer took a sip of his coffee. "I'm not sure who's here and who's not. Don't see anything with her name on it." He waved his hands at the papers strewn on his desk and rumpled a few.
Sarah tightened her grasp on the briefcase's handle. A ridge in the leather cut into her hand but she ignored it. Offices and other unguarded rooms were on this floor. Unless her sister was arrested, she couldn't be too far away.
Harlan leaned forward and placed one manicured hand on the desk man's computer screen and the other near the telephone on the desk. "Using one of these probably would be faster."
The officer grunted but picked up his phone. He punched in a few numbers. "Emily? Emily Johnson?" He glanced at Harlan, who nodded. The officer cocked his thumb over his left shoulder. "Second door to the right."
Harlan started down the beige hall, with Sarah behind him.
"Hey," the desk man's voice followed them, "where do you think she's going?"
Sarah froze, but Harlan reached back for her elbow and tugged her forward. "She's part of my legal team."
He kept walking.
Keeping up with his brisk pace, Sarah hoped the desk officer didn't see her smile. Harlan's instant promotion from his law firm receptionist to a member of his legal team amused her, despite the situation. Not bad for someone whose education ended when she got married a week out of high school.
When Harlan stopped in front of a wooden door, Sarah stared from her higher vantage point at the balding spot atop Harlan's head. She was surprised, as usual, to see it. Unless she was standing beside him, he always seemed taller than her and far younger than thirty-eight. She stood back as he rapped on the door and opened it without waiting for an answer.
From the doorway, Sarah saw Emily seated at a gunmetal-gray table. A pad, pen, Diet Coke can, and a cup of coffee were the only things in front of her. Peter Mueller, the Wheaton police chief, sat across from Emily.
Sarah realized that, except for campaign advertisements on television or in the newspaper, she hadn't seen him since he graduated from their Birmingham high school a couple of years ahead of her. Obviously, moving to nearby Wheaton, Alabama, had been a good career move.
The rising level of Emily's voice brought Sarah's focus back to Emily. "There was somebody else in the Civic Center."
"Who?" Peter asked.
"I don't know. I was giving Bill CPR when I heard someone and called out for help."
Sarah stared at Emily's hands unconsciously pantomiming administering CPR. They were, like the top of Emily's blouse, visible above the table and stained with red splotches. "Em, you're bleeding!"
"Relax. It's rhubarb," Peter said.
Emily glanced at her blouse and hands. Spreading her red-stained fingers, she giggled. "Peter thinks it's rhubarb from one of my rhubarb crisps. He doesn't believe Bill wouldn't have touched, let alone eaten, one of mine. I keep telling him ..."
Sarah raised her hand. "Em, don't say another word. I brought Harlan with me."
She opened her mouth, but before she could say anything more, something sharp jammed into Sarah's side, shoving her into Harlan. He grabbed Sarah's arm and steadied her as a bottle-tinted redhead, the desk officer on her heels, barreled past them, straight toward Emily. Sarah recognized the iron-hipped woman as Jane Clark, a line cook Emily worked with and Bill's latest bimbo.
"You, you killed him!" Jane yelled. "You killed Bill so he wouldn't throw you out of the restaurant."
The desk man grabbed for Jane, catching her arm, but the dynamo twisted free. She lunged at Emily, nails extended to scratch her face.
"Jane, stop it!" Emily sidestepped.
Peter and the other officer wrestled the angry woman into the chair where Emily had sat.
Sarah rushed to her sister's side and gingerly touched her twin's cheek, relieved the skin appeared to be intact.
"Jane," Emily said, "are you crazy?"
The redhead glared at Emily and Sarah, tears in her eyes, as the police officers slowly released their grasp of her arms. Neither moved from her side.
"What's going on here?" Peter said.
Jane pointed to Emily. "I caught her rifling through Southwind's business records last week and told Bill what she'd been doing. He was furious and assured me he'd have her kicked out of the Food Expo. Bill swore she'd never work at Southwind or any other upscale restaurant again."
Emily hesitated. "You don't know what you're talking about, Jane."
Sarah stared at Emily. The idea of Em searching through private business records didn't make sense. Besides, even if she went through some Southwind files, why would Bill care? As chairman of the Civic Center, Bill would justifiably have exploded if Emily or anyone messed with his pet project, the Food Expo, but there was no personal connection between Bill and the restaurant where Emily worked, at least that Sarah knew about. Certainly, the rat wouldn't deliberately hurt his former sister- in-law simply to appease his girlfriend of the week. Could Bill possibly have sunk that low?
Peter nodded at the officer and the door. "Please escort Ms. Clark to room three." He turned his attention to the furious redhead. "Jane, go with him. I'll be there in a few minutes to discuss this with you."
Jane scowled at him but stood and started toward the door. The desk officer trailed, his hand firmly on her arm. Passing Sarah, Jane stopped so abruptly the officer almost tripped over her heels.
"Cat thief," she hissed.
Jane's spittle sprayed across Sarah's cheek. She forced herself not to touch her face until after the officer had guided Jane from the room. Cat thief? What in the world was Jane talking about?
When the metal door closed, Sarah put her arms around her trembling sister and held her tightly, their long, dark and light hair entwined.
"Bill's really dead?" Sarah asked.
Sarah wanted to quiz her twin about what was going on but thought it best to wait. She couldn't read the line over her sister's brow but knew Emily's usually buoyant energy had leaked out like a deflated balloon at Jane's mention of the Food Expo and Southwind.
Jane's accusation couldn't be true. Yes, Emily had thought and said unkind things about Bill during the divorce proceedings — as any loyal sister would — but Emily could never kill anyone, even Bill. She was too much of a straight arrow. Besides, when it came to the restaurant business, Emily was a true professional. She'd never do anything to risk her career.
From her first baby steps, Emily had been their mother's shadow in the kitchen. She'd continued her singular focus, skipping college to attend the culinary institute and work her way up the chef ladder at restaurants in Birmingham, San Francisco, and now, Wheaton. Sarah knew how important working under Southwind's Chef Marcus was to Emily. If it wasn't, Emily would never have come back to Wheaton. No, there was absolutely no way Emily would have done anything to undermine her upcoming chance to be promoted from line cook to sous chef.
"Let's get back to talking about what happened." Peter's voice made it clear his role was more police chief than old friend.
Sarah looked at him more closely. He'd only gained a few pounds and his hair and eyes were still dark, but deep lines were etched into his forehead.
Harlan retrieved his briefcase from the floor, where Sarah had dropped it, and placed it precisely on the table. "I'm representing Emily. I'm advising her not to say anything more until we have a chance to talk."
Peter frowned. "Harlan, you know it's proper protocol for me to get a statement from anyone who witnessed a crime or its aftermath."
"What makes you think this was a crime? People have heart attacks, seizures, and strokes all the time."
Sarah listened to the two volley back and forth, with Emily in the middle. She glanced at Peter.
"You're probably right," Peter said, "but I won't know until I get the autopsy and tox reports back. In the meantime, this late at night, when I find a body covered in rhubarb, clutching a fork and not breathing, I tend to think in terms of a crime scene."
"I've got nothing to hide. Bill was already — " Emily began.
Harlan rested his hand on her arm, stopping her, and said in his neatly clipped voice, "I need to speak with my client. Besides, you don't even know if there is a crime."
Sarah nodded in agreement, but her stomach sank at Peter's expression. Somehow, he knew.
She'd gotten to know Peter during high school when he came around to visit Emily, who usually was either at cheerleading practice or out with the more popular boys. He never acted without considering things from all angles. If Peter didn't think Bill died from a heart attack or a stroke, there must be some sign of poisoning or a wound that convinced him Bill was murdered. Unfortunately, from what she'd overheard Emily telling Peter, if this was his conclusion, the only person he'd found in the locked Civic Center with Bill was rhubarb-covered Emily.CHAPTER 3
"There's nothing I couldn't have said while Peter was in here. I didn't do anything."
"Emily, humor me. I can't do a good job representing you if I don't have the facts." Harlan pulled two pads from his briefcase and gestured toward a chair with the one he handed Sarah. "Take notes. You're part of my team today."
Sarah slid into the chair, staring, as was Harlan, at her twin.
"Now, Emily," Harlan said. "Why don't you tell us how you got covered in rhubarb?"
Emily looked at her blouse and then at her hands. Staring at them, she began to laugh uncontrollably. She held her hands up and waved her fingers, then grew more serious as she began to talk. "I guess I got it all over me when I gave Bill CPR."
"CPR?" Harlan sat beside Sarah and made a note on his legal pad. "Why don't you start at the beginning?"
"Bill called me to come to the Civic Center."
"You? In the middle of the night? Why?" Sarah asked.
Emily gazed at her hands. "I was getting ready for bed, so it was just before midnight when he called and told me there was a problem at the Civic Center. He wanted me to come immediately."
"And you went?" Harlan waited, pen posed in the air.
"Of course. What choice did I have? He was head of the Expo and part owner of Southwind."
"What?" Sarah stared at her sister.
Emily avoided making eye contact with her.
"You two can discuss that later." Harlan seemed to ignore the exchange between the sisters. "Right now, I need to know exactly what happened tonight. Emily?"
"I told you, Bill called and I went to the Civic Center. His car was the only one in the front parking lot. I parked mine next to his and went up to the main entrance. The glass doors were locked, so I used my passkey to get in."
"Could you see him or anything through the glass doors?"
"No. The main lights were off. Once I let myself in, the Civic Center's emergency lights shone enough for me to make my way through the aisles in the main exhibition room to look for Bill."
"Right. The booths for the Food Expo were set up yesterday so the room is now divided into four rows of stalls. Each row has a central walking aisle, except for the booths in the middle of the room. Those face an eating area and open space in front of a stage. When I neared the second aisle, I called out to Bill again, but there was no answer."
Sarah stared at her sister. "Why didn't you just leave?"
"I couldn't. I didn't want to make Bill mad. So I worked my way toward the center of the room, where the Southwind booth is adjacent to the food court area." Emily put her head into her hands.
When she raised her head, tears escaped the corners of her eyes. "He was lying in front of the Southwind booth. I yelled his name and ran to him. He didn't move. He just lay there, holding a fork, sprawled on his back next to a smashed rhubarb pie."
"Did you touch him?" Harlan asked.
"Yes. He was so still. I felt his neck to see if he was dead or alive."
"I wasn't sure, so I called nine-one-one and started giving him CPR, like they taught us in Girl Scouts." Emily glanced at Sarah. "Or at least taught most of us."
Sarah leaned forward. This wasn't the time to remember their respective Girl Scout experiences. "You mentioned someone else was in the Civic Center with you?"
"Yes. I didn't realize it then, though. I was too busy trying to help Bill."
Seeing the color drain from her sister's face, Sarah put her hand on her sister's. "Tell me."
"Except for where there were emergency lights, it was dark and quiet. I cupped my hands over his chest and pushed, counting the compressions in my head. When I got to one hundred, I felt his neck again and checked if his chest was moving. Nothing. I put my face over his to see if I could feel any breath on my cheek. I couldn't."
Emily's gaze was still directed at her, but Sarah got the feeling she wasn't what Emily was seeing.
"Remember how we used to kid that the line of his jaw was always stiff? Well, when I rocked back on my knees, I noticed it was more set than usual. I looked at my hands and realized the rhubarb from his shirt was on me, too."
"How did you know it was rhubarb, not blood?" Harlan said.
"I guess by smell and feel and seeing rhubarb crisp all over the place." She shook her head. "Harlan, I honestly never thought about blood. What passed through my mind for a moment was wondering if the dry cleaner would be able to get the stains out of his shirt. It was one of those white, starched, monogrammed ones. Considering the situation, I threw that idea out of my mind and began pressing and counting again. I stopped when I heard someone else."
Excerpted from "One Taste Too Many"
Copyright © 2019 Debra H. Goldstein.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Good fast read.loved the cat.
Thank you, Debra H. Goldstein, for writing a cozy mystery where I didn’t know who dunnit until the end. It has been a long time since I’ve read a cozy where I didn’t know the killer, at the latest, ¾ of the way through the book. So yes, I will be reading the next book in the Sarah Blair Mystery series, Two Bites Too Many, coming out September 24, 2019. My husband and I watch an episode of Top Chef while we eat dinner, so the premise of Sarah and Emily Blair solving a murder while working at a cooking expo with cooking demonstrations was super fun for me. It was a cool new take to a food cozy instead of having it just take place at a restaurant of cafe. Since most of the book takes place at the cooking convention, Goldstein didn’t have a lot of description about the town, but what she did write, makes me excited to read more about the community in upcoming books. Goldstein’s characters were really well developed for a first book. In some books I’ll come across a character later on in the book, and don’t remember much, or anything about them. But even the side characters were wonderfully detailed. I’m looking forward to continuing to get to know Sarah, Emily, and the rest of the town even more. The mystery itself was very well written. Besides not knowing the killer until the end, Goldstein included lots of red herrings and secrets that had me thinking various characters could be the killer. She didn’t leave any flashing clues that let me know what was going on, instead writing more subtle ones that can be easily missed. And being a judge, Goldstein’s descriptions of the legal contracts and interrogation room scenes had a more powerful presence to them. In other cozy series the scenes are more glossed over, but in One Taste Too Many, it felt more authentic. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of One Taste Too Many! Let me know in the comments or on social media what is your favorite food cozy mystery series.
Sarah Blair is awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call from her twin sister Emily who exclaims that Bill is dead and the police think Emily is responsible. Sarah isn’t that upset that her ex-husband is dead, but she is surprised that Emily is the chief suspect. But Emily was found with Bill, who had eaten her rhubarb crisp despite the fact that he hated rhubarb and avoid the nuts Emily used because of his allergies. What is really going on? Meanwhile, Sarah gets a shock when Bill’s current girlfriend, Jane, produces a will that claims Jane gets custody of RahRah, the Siamese cat that Sarah has had ever since Bill’s mother died several years ago. Can Sarah prove she should keep RahRah while clearing Emily of murder? While it doesn’t take much to intrigue me with a culinary cozy, I found Sarah’s status as a cook of convenience to be a great pull for this series. For more serious culinary lovers, Emily works as a line chef and is part of a culinary festival taking place in their town, so all abilities are covered, although the two recipes at the end are definitely on the simple side. The mystery starts strong, with us learning about Bill’s death on the first page. I did find it harder to care about the sub-plot involving RahRah; I think it’s more because I’m not a pet person so I needed more time to warm up to him before I would care. Still, both storylines reach great climaxes, and Sarah manages to figure out all the twists along the way. The characters have some room to grow, but the main cast, including the suspects, are all solid, providing a good base for future growth. Fans of culinary cozies will enjoy this tasty debut.
Not a bad story. It just drags on
"One Taste Too Many" is the first book in the new Sarah Blair series by Debra H. Goldstein. I have to say that I am thrilled to have discovered it! Goldstein has scored a home run with main character Sarah, who is a caring woman with common sense who approaches cooking with a philosophy of "the quicker and easier, the better". If you love those catering queen heroines...fear not! Sarah has a twin sister who is a professional chef, so there's plenty of good cooking information. Goldstein also did something pretty unusual in the cozy genre with her (minimal) romance storyline. I won't say more to avoid spoilers, but if you're tired of the usual, give this book a try! Sarah spends most of this book trying to clear her sister's name of a murder charge, and fighting to keep custody of her beloved Siamese cat. Both twins, as well as certain key supporting characters, have distinct and well-thought-out personalities, with plenty of room to grow as the series progresses. I will be first in line to see what happens next! I had heard that the reveal of the killer came as a surprise to other readers, so I went in looking for a twist. I got one! Until very near the end (when the clues are becoming much more obvious), I had NO IDEA of who the killer was. (I will refrain from sharing my excellent outside-of-any-cozy-box theory. It was so far off, it would take this review into the realm of comedy.) Another excellent aspect of this book is that fact that Sarah actually takes pro-active steps to gain information to help her find the killer. Then she takes time to think through what she's learned before deciding what to do next. Once all is revealed, everything makes perfect sense. Basically, this is everything you could want in a cozy mystery (with a couple of fabulous extras thrown in). Five out of five big chunks of my favorite sharp cheddar!
This first book in the Sarah Blair Mystery series started out fast and kept the pace up throughout the book. Sarah's ex-husband is found dead and her twin sister, Emily, is a suspect in his death. Sarah knows that her sister didn't do it and they set out to try to figure out who did since the police seem to believe that she did it. This is only the beginning of this wonderful mystery with many red herrings the kept me guessing until the end. I couldn't put this book down. I thought that I had it figured out, but I was surprised by the ending. This is a great start to a new series that I know I will enjoy for many books to come. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through Cozy Mystery Review Crew. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Sarah Blair gets a call from her sister asking for help. Her twin, Emily, is suspected of killing her ex-brother-in-law, Bill. He wasn’t to be trusted. He used people and discarded them. They just need to find which one killed him. Unfortunately things get worse. When her deceased ex’s girlfriend demands her cat, RahRah, Sarah is devastated, she loves her fur baby. Peter Mueller, the Police Chief, tells her she has to surrender him. Why is RahRah important? This cozy mystery grabbed me from the first page. I liked Sarah and Emily. They are interesting characters. They help each other, have a healthy curiosity and a determination to find the truth. Peter maybe an old friend and a by the book lawman. Why is he convinced that Emily is guilty? I liked how the Twins decide to investigate and find out who the murderer is. They have spunk. Luckily Sarah gets her boss to help them. Harlan is a lawyer and a good guy. Can he save both Emily and RahRah. One Taste Too Many is well written and filled with continuous twists. The ending was a total shock. I never saw it coming. The setting was quaint which highlighted the shocking crime. The dialogue moved the story along and helped me get to know the characters. I liked the writing style of Debra H. Goldstein. She is a new to me author but I plan to change that. She wrote an intriguing mystery that kept me guessing.
Sarah Blair’s ex-husband, Bill, is dead. The bigger issue is that her twin sister Emily has been arrested for his murder. The police think that she purposely fed him something that he was highly allergic to, then instead of attempting to save him like she claims, she watched him die. Sarah knows that is as far from the truth as it can get, so she is determined to find out if this was just a horrible accident or someone really did murder Bill and frame Emily. But that isn’t her only problem. Sarah has custody of RahRah , the cat that her mother-in-law loved and Bill hated. Sarah and RahRah are two peas in a pod. RahRah is not a cat that loves many people, but he adores Sarah. The feelings are mutual and they are happy to have each other. That is until documents surface giving RahRah to Bills current girlfriend – who really doesn’t want him, but wants to collect the money specified in Bill’s will to care for the feline. All of this turmoil is set during a food festival. Emily is a fantastic chef and Sarah can’t boil water without instructions. As the girls start investigating, another dead body turns up. Emily is targeted as the killer again. Sarah doubles her efforts to clear her sister’s name, get back her beloved cat and find the real killer. She will go to any lengths to accomplish her goals even if she has to do something she fears more than the killer’s revenge – cooking! One Taste Too Many is the first book in the new Sarah Blair Mystery Series. The cast of characters are interesting and diverse. It is fun to peek behind the kitchen doors of the chefs in the story. Because Sarah works for a lawyer, we get to see how justice is served as well. I love a book that gives me so many likely suspects I cannot figure out who the murderer is until the last chapters. This is a culinary cozy that mystery lovers will enjoy. Cooks of all levels will enjoy the recipes at the end of the book. Ms. Goldstein is an award winner author. One Taste Too Many is the third mystery she has written. She also writes short works of fiction that have been published. I’m looking forward to the next book in the Sarah Blair series. DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman
“Peter probably isn’t the only one who ever accused the two of you of poking you noses where they don’t belong.” “That’s not fair. Sarah and I simply have a healthy level of curiosity.” Sarah Blair never left her hometown. Married right of High School to a guy who divorced her a decade later, she now lives in a studio apartment and works as a receptionist in a local law firm. Her twin sister Emily has recently returned to the area in hopes of finding a chef’s job in an up and coming restaurant...until, Sarah’s ex husband is found dead with Emily performing CPR on his dead corpse apparently poisoned by Emily’s food. Add to this her ex’s current has demanded Sarah return RahRah: the Siamese cat as she claims inheritance of Bill’s estate, including his late mother’s cat. RahRah and Jane are not friends, so something else seems rotten besides the spoiled contents of the refrigerator and it’s up to Sarah to clear her sister’s name and find the recipe that bring back RahRah. This is the first on a new series for Debra H. Goldstein and her kitchen-challenged sleuth Sarah as they try to figure out what’s what. In my opinion, this book, which I won in a give away, was a little too convoluted for my taste, and about 50 pages could have been eliminated without changing the story much. Hey, every mystery author needs a starting point. Let’s see what happens. Recommended 4/5
One Taste Too Many by Debra H. Goldstein is the first A Sarah Blair Mystery. Sarah Blair is a twenty-eight year old divorcee living in Wheaton, Alabama in a small studio apartment with her Siamese cat, RahRah while working as a receptionist for a local lawyer. Sarah is awakened during the night by a phone call from her twin sister, Emily. She is at the police station and the prime suspect in death of Sarah’s ex-husband, Bill. Sarah immediately calls her boss, Harlan and rushes to the police station. Peter Mueller, Wheaton’s police chief, is questioning Emily when Sarah and Harlan arrive at the station. Emily is a chef at Southwind, a local upscale restaurant, and in charge of the Southwind booth at the upcoming Food Expo. She states Bill called and told her there was a problem and to come down immediately. Emily found him on the floor of the Southwind booth covered in her rhubarb crisp. Then Jane Clark, Bill’s latest love interest, shows up and accuses Sarah of stealing a bracelet and RahRah (oh no). After leaving the station, Emily suggests that Sarah work the Food Expo with her, so they can track down the real killer. It will also allow them to get close to Jane and figure out what plan she is cooking up. They only have one little problem—Sarah is severely lacking in culinary talent (heating up takeout is the extent of her skills). When Emily is arrested for Bill’s murder, it is up to Sarah to cut through the clues and suspects. Can Sarah solve the case before Emily’s becomes the prison’s new cook? One Taste Too Many is a lighthearted cozy mystery. This cozy mystery features plenty of mouthwatering food and a smart Siamese cat named RahRah. I liked the steady pacing and smooth flow between sections. Sarah and her twin sister, Emily may look alike, but they have very different personalities and talents. Sarah has divorced her cheating husband, but she has yet to discover what she wants to do with her life. While Emily is a talented chef, Sarah has no culinary talents. Actually, Sarah is not sure if she possesses any special skills or talents. Sarah is grateful for her cat, RahRah (my favorite character in the book). RahRah originally belonged to Mother Blair and, after her death, Bill asked Sarah to take him since he is allergic. It turns out that Bill forgot to mention that Mother Blair set up a special trust for RahRah with a stipend for his caregiver along with a place to live (must have slipped his mind). After Bill’s death, all the evidence points towards Emily as the killer. Emily convinces Sarah to help her ferret out the truth. There are several suspects with motive to want Bill dead and there are good clues to aid readers in resolving the crime. I was disappointed that the murder occurred before the book began. I would have appreciated the author taking the time to develop the main characters further (to know more about their past). Further information on Harlan would also have been nice—like his last name (did I miss it?). There are two recipes at the end of the book. One Taste Too Many will appeal to those who delight in pet and food cozy mysteries with a perplexing whodunit. Do not miss the first new diverting tale in A Sarah Blair Mystery series.
Sarah Blair’s ex dies under mysterious circumstances and her sister Emily becomes the prime suspect. With a field promotion from receptionist to being part of her lawyer boss’s legal team, Sarah leaps to her sister’s defense. Soon the trouble extends to Sarah’s cat, Rah Rah, the only good thing to come out of her divorce. Full of twists and turns, One Taste Too Many is a fun romp through the Darwinian world of professional chefs. Muddy Rose Reviews
This is a wonderful start to a series that I hope lasts for a long time. I love the character's interactions, and the plot twists kept me glued to the pages. I couldn't put this book down. Sarah and Emily are twin sisters who will do anything for each other. When Emily is accused of murdering Sarah's ex-husband, Sarah needs to find out the truth and figure out who the real culprit is. I didn't figure out who had done it until the end. If you like cats, food, and a great cozy mystery, then this is the book for you. I highly recommend this book!
Dollycas’s Thoughts Sarah and Emily Blair are twins and as different as night and day. Emily is a fabulous chef with plans to make it to the top of her field. Sarah married young and divorced 10 years later. She is starting over and has taken a receptionist job at a local law office and lives in a studio apartment with her cat, RahRah. The restaurant where Emily works has a booth at the Food Expo and the staff will be giving demonstrations and sharing tasty treats. Emily will be making her special rhubarb crisp. But tragedy strikes when Sarah’s ex is found dead at the convention center before the event even begins. Covered in rhubarb, it is quickly determined he was poisoned, by Emily! Also, with his death, it seems Sarah’s cat RahRah no longer belongs to her. A chef that works with Emily has laid claim to the feline. As someone that hates to cook, Sarah knows she needs to hang around the expo to try to catch the real killer, even if it means filling in for her talented sister. That is if the killer doesn’t get to her first. She also needs to find a way to keep her cat. This series is off to a stellar start and I am head over heels with the wonderful cat, RahRah. The cat was rescued during Hurricane Katrina my Sarah’s ex-mother-in-law who loved Sarah, so of course, she took the cat when the woman passed away. Her ex left out some key details about his mother’s will. Now, with him dead the secrets are revealed. Let’s just say he was a first-class a**, and I was happy he was the first victim. Yes, first, because the killing didn’t stop with him. Ms. Goldstein has created a pair of sisters, twins, that are truly each other’s half. They are smart and fun. Best friends that take care of each other. Sarah is an interesting protagonist. I hope she continues to team up with her sister. I believe we have barely scratched the surface on when the author can take these sisters. The story has a little bit more of an edge than a typical cozy but doesn’t go too far. It is exciting and fresh with plenty of twists and corkscrew turns. The author drops in the clues with such precision. I was up in the air about the killer right up until the big reveal. Someone on my radar but not at the top of my list. The motives were unclear until all the last clues slid into place. This was a very entertaining story. A great mystery with characters I want to visit again. I am excited to see where the author takes this series. This one was A Perfect Escape!